WSU among top 10 innovative schools for foreign language

By Adriana Aumen, College of Arts & Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University recently was recognized among colleges and universities nationwide for its pioneering approach to teaching foreign languages., a national reviewer of online education, lists WSU among the 10 Most Innovative Colleges for Foreign Language Study ( Schools were chosen on the basis of “offering students a chance to learn rare languages, immerse themselves in a new culture and language, or even blend language learning with dormitory life.”

“This national recognition underscores the high quality of our teaching program and the unique opportunities we offer students, such as our language for the professions second major,” said Jolyon Hughes, professor of German and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures ( “The WSU DFLC approach is to look differently at language and culture and create study and outreach programs that prepare our students to enter the global society confidently and capably.”

Students in the language for professions track ( may couple studies in any other major area with a second major in a language and culture that complements their primary interests. Additional specialized programs are tailored to students in business, social and natural sciences, engineering and veterinary medicine.

“In our increasingly interconnected world, the ability to speak two or more languages is an increasingly valuable skill,” Hughes said. “Working in the global marketplace, there is a good chance that customers and suppliers will be in different countries, speak different first languages and have different cultural values and approaches. We train students in foreign language and cultural proficiency so they can communicate effectively for greater success in healthcare, government, business or whatever field they pursue.”

According to’s website, the department’s name reflects the importance it places on teaching students how to navigate not only another language but also another culture. The curriculum includes courses in language, literature, film, cultures and global studies.

WSU students also have year-round access to the Language Learning Center, offering an array of audio, visual and online language resources along with a video lab, world TV programs, tutoring and self-paced learning modules.

“Being placed in a top 10 list with Stanford, UCLA, Columbia and Cornell, among others, is a great honor, especially as most of them teach more languages than we do and most require all students to enroll in language instruction,” Hughes said. “Since we are relatively small and have no language requirement for our students, we have to think differently and be even more innovative.”


News media contacts:
Jolyon Hughes, WSU Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures, 509-335-4135,
Adriana Aumen, WSU College of Arts and Sciences ( communications, 509-335-5671,